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Legal insurance Germany

Written by
Janine El-Saghir
Being right and getting right are often different. Those affected must also be able to afford legal advice or a court case. Legal insurance covers the costs of legal disputes. The insurance company reimburses legal bills in the covered law areas.
At a glance...

Legal Insurance Germany: Essentials

  • With legal insurance, you protect yourself against the financial risks of legal issues.
  • The policies follow a modular structure. All relevant areas of law can be insured. So, you can choose the areas of law for which you may need legal services. The insurance company reimburses legal bills in these areas.
  • Most insurance companies in Germany offer legal protection policies. We rate the legal insurance from FinTech insurers Getsafe and Feather as particularly powerful.

Legal protection insurance — for all relevant areas of law

With legal insurance, you insure the legal costs in the insured areas of law. Insurance companies offer legal insurance policies based on various modules. Normally, you purchase legal insurance for several areas of law. For example, Your insurance covers private, employment, and traffic law.

Insurable areas of law

Legal insurance cover includes legal services in the following areas of law:

  • Private law, contract law
  • Social law, tax, and administrative law (as part of a private legal insurance policy)
  • Criminal law (as part of a private legal insurance policy)
  • Labor law/professional law
  • Traffic law
  • Real estate and housing law.

The legal insurance companies state that most insurance claims arise in private and employment law, traffic law, real estate, and housing law, as well as legal disputes over claims for damages and compensation for pain and suffering.

Costs covered by legal insurance

Legal insurance in Germany covers the following costs:

  • Lawyer fees
  • Court fees
  • Costs for witnesses and experts
  • Additional costs abroad (e.g., travel expenses to a foreign court and translation costs)
  • Interest-free loans for criminal bail if criminal law is also insured
  • Legal fees and court fees of the opposing side if you lose the case.

In addition, your legal expenses insurance will provide you with legal assistance from its legal experts.

Tariffs for singles and families

Legal insurance can be taken out for singles and families or households. As a single person, you can generally expect slightly lower premiums.

In a family tariff, unmarried adult children who are in education and no longer live with their parents can often also be insured.

Legal insurance cover note — for every legal dispute

It would be best if you had a separate confirmation of cover for each legal dispute. So, you must inform your insurance company before taking legal action in a dispute. The insurer’s commitment should be given in writing.

Anticipate a more complicated legal dispute. It may be advisable to consult a lawyer to clarify the assumption of costs, which can make more valid statements about the chances of success of a claim.

The insurance company is entitled to refuse to cover costs in some instances. Reasons for this include a lack of prospects of success and the assumption that the insured person has deliberately brought about the legal dispute. If you disagree with the insurer’s decision, you can appeal against the rejection. The final decision is based on a casting vote, an arbitration report, or an ombudsman. You must bear the costs of an arbitration report yourself. However, the insurance company will reimburse the lawyer fees for the appeal proceedings regardless of the outcome, ensuring that you are not financially burdened by the appeal process.

Legal insurance coverage

Private legal protection insurance is usually the basis of legal insurance. It is typically combined with other modules such as traffic, occupational, or tenancy legal insurance.

Private legal protection insurance

Private legal protection covers several areas of law:

  • Contract law, including warranty claims for products and services
  • Claims for damages and compensation for pain and suffering arising from statutory liability provisions (direct third-party claims against the insured person are not included here — you need private liability insurance for this)
  • Social law
  • Tax and administrative law (in the event of a legal dispute with the tax office, only court costs, but not tax consultancy and legal fees)

Special case 1: Family and inheritance law

Private legal insurance also covers the costs of family and inheritance law disputes. As a rule, this is purely legal advice cover. Only costs for legal advice are reimbursed, but not court costs. Good tariffs also cover the costs of preparing legal documents and out-of-court mediation.

Special case 2: Criminal law

Criminal legal insurance can be taken out for misdemeanors and offenses committed through negligence, except traffic offenses. Some insurers offer extended criminal legal insurance cover for allegations of an intentional criminal offense. However, in the event of a guilty verdict, any costs already reimbursed must be repaid to the insurance company.

With most insurers, criminal legal insurance is an additional module to private legal insurance for which a fee is charged.

Other areas of law

Traffic law cases require special traffic legal insurance that covers all areas of law relevant to traffic law (traffic-related contract law, criminal law, contract and property law, tax and administrative law).

Private legal insurance does not cover professional cases but must be insured under a particular professional legal insurance policy. Employees need a different insurance policy than self-employed and freelancers. In the case of labor law proceedings, the insurance only covers the lawyer fees in the first instance, while both parties must bear the court costs themselves, depending on the outcome of the proceedings.

Legal insurance for tenants must always be combined with other legal insurance modules. Homeowners and landlords require legal insurance tailored to their needs.

Legal cases not covered

For your legal insurance to apply, the relevant area of law must be insured in your policy. Legal disputes that existed before you took out the insurance are not covered.

Waiting periods

Waiting periods between 3 and 6 months apply to new customers, depending on the insurance company. Victim legal protection, traffic legal insurance, and other law areas are excluded from these waiting periods.

Non-insurable cases

The following cases are not insurable with a legal insurance contract:

  • Cases that do not result from breaches of contract and fall within the scope of liability
  • Cases in connection with speculative investments and gambling or betting contracts
  • Legal disputes arising from immoral offers by the insured person (racism, extremism, pornography)
  • Intentional criminal offenses
  • Legal disputes between persons who are insured under a joint policy
  • Legal costs in inheritance and family law proceedings.

Criteria for choosing the right legal insurance

A good legal insurance in Germany should fulfill the following criteria:

Sufficient sum insured

The minimum cover of legal insurance should be €250.000-€300,000. However, most insurers offer €5 million or unlimited coverage. Loan amounts for bail should be at least €100,000.

International validity

As a rule, legal insurance is valid worldwide. The full amount of cover is paid for Germany and the EU. For countries outside the EU, coverage is reduced but should be at least €300,000. The insurance should be valid outside the EU for at least 6 months.

Further aspects of the tariff selection

The following aspects are also important when choosing the right tariff:

  • Legal advice coverage, document preparation, and mediation in family and inheritance law
  • General coverage of out-of-court mediation
  • Short waiting periods
  • Lawyer hotline, legal advice from the insurance company’s legal experts
  • Waiver of the defense of pre-contractuality: If the legal insurance has been in place for at least 5 years, this clause also covers legal cases that arose before the start of the insurance.

Legal insurance cost

The costs of legal insurance in Germany vary considerably between providers. Therefore, it can be wise to seek advice from an independent expert before taking out a policy.

Your age, place of residence, agreed deductibles, the insured legal areas, and the special conditions of the tariff all influence your legal insurance cost.

In an independent study from 2023, Stiftung Finanztest stated the following costs for a combination of private, traffic, and professional legal protection with an excess of between €150 and €250:

  • Singles: €20-€57 per month/€240-€680 per year
  • Families: €22-€68 per month/€260-€820 per year

Best legal insurance in Germany

Here, we present legal insurance from fintech providers Feather and Getsafe. Both insurance companies are recommended, not least for expats in Germany. Their websites and apps are available in German and English, and advice is also provided in both languages. Insurance claims are processed completely digitally. Support is available by phone and email.

Feather legal insurance

Feather legal insurance is available in two tariffs:

  • Basic: cover: €1 million within the EU, €250,000 worldwide
  • Advanced: unlimited coverage within the EU, €500,000 worldwide

Private legal protection, traffic legal protection, and professional legal protection are covered as standard. For a small surcharge, you can also book legal insurance for tenants or homeowners and extended criminal legal protection.

Both tariffs include free advice from the company’s lawyers. The waiting periods for specific areas of law are 3–5 months for the Basic tariff and 3 months for the Advanced tariff.

Legal insurance from Feather is available from €13.51 per month. Deductibles can be set variably. They usually start at €300 per year. Lower amounts are possible if you have had legal insurance in Germany in the past 5 years. After an insured event, your excess increases to €500. After each claim-free year, it is reduced by €100.

This legal insurance does not cover immigration issues and preventive reviews of contracts. Full-time self-employed people and freelancers cannot take out this insurance. However, part-time self-employed business activities are covered.

Getsafe legal insurance

Getsafe offers private, traffic, and professional legal insurance as a standard package. Additionally, you can book tenant legal protection and extended criminal legal protection.

The insurance company has only one legal insurance tariff. The sum insured within the EU is unlimited; worldwide, it is €500,000.

Getsafe’s lawyer hotline is available 24/7. The first legal consultation with an internal or external lawyer is free of charge. Depending on the area of law, waiting periods of 3 or 6 months apply in some cases, but these do not apply to legal advice.

You can book legal insurance with Getsafe from €15.12 per month. The excess is initially €300 and is reduced by €100 every claim-free year. After an insured event, however, it rises to €500. Professional legal insurance only applies to employees.

Conclusion

You may now ask, “Is legal insurance worth it for me?” Yes, if there are relevant legal risks in your professional and private life. Your legal insurance should be designed to cover all areas in which you have to reckon with legal issues so that you can fight for your rights free of financial restrictions.

Feather and Getsafe offer high-performance legal insurance at favorable and transparent conditions, although the design of their professional legal protection module makes it primarily suitable for employees.

Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ

You can apply for legal insurance either directly with the insurance company of your choice or via an insurance broker. In both cases, it is almost always possible to apply online.

Before concluding the contract, the insurance company will ask you a few questions about legal cases in the past five years. Existing claims can influence the premium amount and the deductible amount. You must answer these questions fully and truthfully. Otherwise, you risk losing your insurance coverage.

Most legal protection insurers accept a free choice of lawyer. However, if you contractually accept that a lawyer from your insurance company represents you, you can expect lower premiums for your legal insurance.

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